Can’t Get Solar Rebates? Create Your Own.

Back in May we heard stories of solar installers in New Jersey waiting for hours in the rain outside the Board of Public Utilities for solar rebates. However, due to state budget cut-backs, many of those companies were not able to secure incentives for their customers.

This has been a common problem in New Jersey where high demand for solar has outstripped the state’s rebate program. The situation has been exacerbated by a strained 2009 and 2010 budget. In order to transition away from a budget-dependent incentive program, New Jersey has focused on creating a market-based Solar Renewable Energy Certificate scheme. However, a number of installers still rely on rebates.

One installation company is trying something new to address the problem – create its own rebate. Rather than depend on the state, the renewable energy developer GeoPeak Energy said earlier this month that it would provide a $6,000 incentive to the first 200 residential customers who purchase a solar system. The rebate is $375 more than the maximum state incentive.

“We want everyone here to win with solar,” said the company’s Rebate Manager Angela Kumar in a statement.

Because the BPU can only get accept three applications per day from a single company, there are limitations on how much business companies can do under the program. In order to keep business strong, GeoPeak decided to make its own program.

GeoPeak is the first company to create an internal program of this size for rebates. The company is hoping that others will do the same in order to keep the New Jersey solar market strong while it transitions to one based solely on SRECs.

The video below from a local public news station highlights the problems that installers and customers have faced in recent years.

[bc_video account_id=”” player_id=”” video_id=””]

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I am a reporter with, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in touch through twitter! My profile name is: Stphn_Lacey

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